Saturday, December 4, 2010

My Uncle's garage....

For those who hoped/Xpected 2 C a mop-up job on the rest of Caravan's THE WORLD IS YOURS 4-CD best-of, I'll get 2 that. But 2nite I felt nostalgic....
Back when I was growing up, my Uncle Lyle useta repair jukeboxes & pinball machines 4 bars & watering-holes thruout the Boise Valley in Idaho. When I was way younger, it was the pinball machines that attracted my eye -- the old '60s-style jobs with the wooden cabinets & the spray-painted decor & the big floppy plastic mechanical flippers 2 keep the ball in play. When Uncle Lyle was in the middle of repairing 1 of those or Cing if 1 was ready 2 send back out 2 the public, he'd hook it up 4 me & my Cousin Jim & let us play 4 hrs 4 free.
It wasn't til later that I noticed that the walls of his garage/workshop were lined with thousands of old 45-rpm single records taken outta jukeboxes & filed 4 later use.
When I was back in Idaho on vacation in the late summer of 1972, Uncle Lyle allowed me 2 pick thru his files & carry-off some 3-dozen 45's, as many as I could carry. I was in the middle of my early-teen singles-buying frenzy at that point (see earlier nostalgia pieces), & I kept nagging at him until he caved-in.
Then, when I was finally allowed the run of his stacks, I was overcome w/ that feeling I've felt at practically every used record store that I've visited in the many years since -- the certainty that there Rn't enuf hrs left in my LIFE 2 find all the Good Stuff that was there somewhere in front of me.
Making it more complicated was the fact that Uncle Lyle's piles of singles were in NO ORDER. What couldn't fit on shelves along the walls were piled on shelves & work benches around the garage. All I could do was dive in & C what kinda Good Stuff I could pull out.
I never got all the way thru the hoard.
& I never got another chance 2 dig thru it, either.
Now remember, in the late summer of '72 I woulda just turned 13 yrs old, & as such I had No Musical Taste. The Beatles, The Partridge Family, Three Dog Night, Neil Diamond, Bread, The Raspberries, The Who, Lobo & The Carpenters woulda bn summa the acts I woulda looked up 2 at that time. I was thrilled just 2 find songs whose titles I recognized -- & 2 B able 2 double the size of my singles collection -- 4 FREE? Well, I was in heaven.
Some of those beat-up old X-jukebox 45s I still have & still play. Others vanished LONG ago -- I gave some 2 my sister B4 I ran off 2 join the Air Force, some I replaced (much later) w/ the albums the songs came from. So some of this I'm doing from memory. But here's mosta what I remember picking-out....

Rolling Stones: Ruby Tuesday, Paint It Black -- I was looking 4 "Satisfaction," of course, but never found it....
Ocean: Put Your Hand in the Hand.
Looking Glass: Brandy.
Brotherhood of Man: United We Stand.
America: Horse With No Name.
The Seekers: I'll Never Find Another You.
Bread: Make it With You.
English Congregation: Softly Whispering I Love You.
Paul Mauriat: Love is Blue -- I've always bn a sucker 4 instrumentals.
Association: Windy.
Carpenters: For All We Know, Rainy Days and Mondays.
Fifth Dimension: Last Night I Didn't Get to Sleep at All.
Gilbert O'Sullivan: Alone Again Naturally.
Music Explosion: Little Bit of Soul.
John Fred & His Playboy Band: Judy in Disguise.
Steam: Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye.
Rascals: Good Lovin'.
Free Movement: I've Found Someone of My Own.
Gallery: Nice to be With You.
Rare Earth: Get Ready.
Gerry & the Pacemakers: Ferry Cross the Mersey, Don't Let the Sun Catch You Crying.
Dave Edmunds: I Hear You Knockin'.
Carole King: It's Too Late.
Monkees: Daydream Believer/Goin' Down, A Little Bit Me a Little Bit You/The Girl I Knew Somewhere -- coupla killer B-sides here.
Gary Lewis & the Playboys: This Diamond Ring -- no "Count Me In," still my faverite....
Neil Diamond: Do It.
Stevie Wonder: Fingertips Part 2.
Simon & Garfunkel: Cecelia/Keep the Customer Satisfied.
Don McLean: Vincent.
Mark Lindsay: Silver Bird.
Tom Jones: She's a Lady -- laff if U want, I don't mind....

...There mighta bn more, but that's all I can remember off the toppa my head & from looking thru the current collection. I remember my uncle wasn't Xactly thrilled w/ the pile I collected -- neither were my parents. They thot I was taking advantage of him. But mayB they were also worried about all the new noise they'd B hearing....
I took the stack of records back to Washington & wore-out some of them -- & I made my uncle promise that if he ever wanted 2 get rid of his collection 2 B sure 2 call me....
A coupla yrs later my family moved again & we were 1nce again living across town from my uncle. & from time 2 time I'd ask if he planned 2 get rid of that garage fulla 45's NEtime soon. & his answer was always "Someday, when I retire...."
Sometime Btween 1977 & 1982 my uncle got outta the machine-repair bizness & sold his garage full of music in some kinda massive garage sale. & he never even called me. He told my parents later that it never even occurred 2 him. I imagine the last thing he wanted was some obnoxious opinionated longhaired teenage bozo like I was then running off w/ half his stuff when instead he could get $$$ 4 it. I chastized him a coupla times 4 not calling me, but what can U do when it's Family?
But I still wonder ... what else was in that garage? & what else could I have found if I'd bn just 5 yrs older & 5 yrs more knowledgable....?


rastronomicals said...

That's something we share, Tad--we each spent our preteen years sifting through large unordered stacks of 45s, and if I understand you correctly, we were both doing it before we'd *quite* developed the discerning taste we'd later have.

I was doing my sifting about five or six years after you were doing yours, in '78 or '79, maybe a little later than that, too, and the source was of course the Miami radio stations that my old man visited, so coming across some of the artists and titles you mention would have been tough.

Sure would have loved to have found some Simon & Garfunkel. The old man had an eight track of their greatest hits, but I myself had none to my name.

I do remember at one point being allowed into the old man's archives, and being allowed to take a select few. He'd squirreled away "Jumping Jack Flash"/"Child of the Moon" at some point, and I jumped on it given the chance. Not a picture disc, London label. It wasn't in the greatest shape, but though I was already familiar with "JJF," "Child of the Moon" knocked me out. Still does, love the Band of Susans cover too.

I also remember coming across a Carpenters single, "Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft," a Klaatu cover actually, probably The Carpenters' freakiest moment.

Also some Stevie Wonder, Journey Into the Secret Life of Plants was the new album then, I remember a picture sleeve from that, "Send One Your Love," maybe? Also I found "Sir Duke" one day, a Golden Oldie that had gotten mixed in with the radio station's promos, and "MasterBlaster (Jammin')," another picture sleeve.

All of 'em long gone now, MAYBE I still have the Stones single, but cool to remember, fun being surrounded by records, like Borges said he couldn't sleep unless he was surrounded by books. I think I was like that with vinyl in my preteen days. . . . .

Perplexio said...

Gilbert O'Sullivan's Alone Again, Naturally has to be one of the most depressing songs ever wrtitten/recorded. I think only Harry Chapin's The Shortest Story and Barry McGuire's Eve of Destruction are more depressing.